Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Picture of Fourchon

Weep for New Orleans

I'm back at the hotel after spending the night at the rig and
I'm aghast at what daylight reveals of new orleans. Kenner
where I grew up is flooded, downtown and the french quarter
are flooding. Slidell and Chalmette are probably total losses.

Fox just pointed out something that I've been thinking: No one
has even heard from Placquemines Parish, and apparently the
river has 'reclaimed' the lower portions of the delta.

The national news people have no idea of the geography of the area,
and they only show a few scenes where their cameras are, at the corner
of bourbon and canal, and from up on the GNO bridge.

But it looks unbelievable what we can see, who knows when or if
this will all be rebuilt.

Thanksgiving post

I spoke with my parents up in Picayune, everybody is
fine, my sisters also spent the storm at my parent's house
so they are ok too. Apparently all the trees are down around
their houses, and one hit my sister's garage blocking in two
cars, and they lost most of the shingles on the roof, but
everyone is ok, which is most important.

Who knows what happened to my sister's house in slidell.
I checked on the web yesterday as the storm made landfall,
and the eye was centered on slidell, so it doesn't look good.
I'm glad she decided to spend the storm at my parents' place.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Fox has more of a clue

One of my coworkers just clued me in that
we do have fox news, I have to reprogram
the tv channels to get it though. Their
news readers seem to have more of a clue,
at least they have some idea of the geography
of SE LA. Also they have good taste in
Hotels, they are staying at the "W".

One lady on CNN kept saying "the french
quarters" which made me wince every time.

On the other hand the fox guys just said "those
old buildings in the french quarter are more
suseptible to strong winds, unlike newer
buildings". When the answer is just the
opposite. Those buildings in the french
quarter have stood the test of time, they've
gone through other hurricanes through the
18th and 19th centuries when there was little
or no levee system.

At least I hope that is true, my dad just
used the same argument to say they are staying
in their house since it survived camile.

All I can say is: Gah!

Over at Eye of the Storm, Charles points out that Kat is
(may be) an Annular hurricane, instead of a normal spiral storm
that can't maintain cat 5 for more than a few hours, annular
storms (like Ivan) can remain cat 5 for 30 hours or more.

So enough of the theory, what does this mean practically?

It means that the situation has gotten even worse. If Katrina is indeed annular, then the chances of her retreating down to say category three status are nil. If we make the somewhat unlikely presumption that she has reached her maximum strength (and again if she is annular), then the averages of such hurricanes suggest that she would only weaken to 145 mph at landfall. That would be a storm with Charley-like intensity, but on a much larger scale as Charley was puny compared to the present size of Katrina.


Steve Gregory over at wunderblogs says:


This central pressure is very close to that recorded in Camille in 1969 - the most powerful land falling hurricane in U.S. history, with a storm surge of 25' in some locations. As surmised last evening in my final update, if the eye wall was to shrink to 15NM diameter, we would have another Camille -- except it is a larger storm than Camille.
This storm will produce the most catastrophic damage in modern times if it maintains it's intensity and projected track. The repercussions of which will be felt nationwide for a very long time come.
These blogs points out the strength of blogs over conventional
media. If people had been reading more blogs since friday
they would have left new orleans yesterday. Whereas cnn
didn't go into panic mode until 6 am today.
...........
Mayor Nagin just ordered a mandatory evacuation, by
reading the legaleze version of the order instead of saying
more plainly it is time to leave, and if you don't leave no
one will come rescue you.

Hopefully it wasn't poorly executed and too late.

Governor blanco just mentioned that President Bush called to
make sure there was a mandatory evactuation.

She keeps mentioning being blessed, and she keeps repeating
herself and mentioning flying in and looking at the traffic.
Instead of a governor she is really just a traffic reporter
and a bad one at that.

I voted for Bobby Jindal, and I wish that fast talking guy had
won.

I'm glad I voted for Mary Landrieu

Mary Landrieu just tore the CNN announcer
a new asshole. The CNN people are so stupid,
they tried to make a flippant/funny comment
"what a funny place to build a city, between
a lake and a river, why would they do that?"

Senator Landrieu turned it around with the
comment that without New Orleans in that
location we wouldn't have had a United States,
New Orleans is a center of commerce, and
Louisiana is a producer of the nation's energy.
"we aren't down here sunning ourselves on the
beach". [The main reason New Orleans is where
it is, it is a deepwater port that is mostly
sheltered from storms, and compared to the land
in the rest of SE LA has some fairly high spots.
The french quarter and mid-city are above MSL]

The announcer responded with "thanks for the
historical perspective".

Senator Landrieu made several other good points,
that much of the coastal erosion has been caused
by the energy industry, while almost all of the
royalties have gone straight to the federal
treasury. We need more of that money to build
(or now rebuild) the coastline and infrastructure.

A pet peeve of mine is that States like Florida
can say they don't want energy production
offshore because it will dirty their beaches,
while they get the benefit of cheaper oil and gas.

Now back to the normal worrying of hurricane
coverage.

CNN Sucks

I'm watching CNN again and in the last 12 hours they've shown
the anti-bush screed about bad intelligence 3 times! The approaching
disaster in New Orleans could be just about as bad as the Tsunami was,
but they've had 36 hours of warning about the story.

Hopefully Governor Blanco's prayers are just as effective as Governor
Foster's were for Hurricane Lily, because it looks like it's gonna be bad.
It would be nice to see some urgency from the 24 hour news channel.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Katrina is coming

I'm watching CNN here in Barbados, and I'm amazed that
Jefferson Parish president Aaron Broussard is giving detailed
driving instructions to an international audience. He was
mayor of Kenner when I was growing up, now he's a bejowled
power broker telling an international audience not to take
the Huey P. Long bridge; but he didn't say which way to go.

Whew, I'm glad I'm not a resident of the west bank of Jefferson
Parish...they've got to take a drive on Highway 90 to lafayette,
which is a 2 1/2 hour drive over swampy causeways with no
traffic, add 200,000 people and it will be a 6 hour bataan death-
drive just to Lafayette. (or risk a one-lane merge from I-310 to
I-10...bleh) Once you're in lafayette I'd definitely keep going
to Houston.

I already suggested to my wife that she call our friends in
Lafayette to invite them over tonight. The projected path has
been steadily marching west since yesterday, if it moves any
further west I'd leave lafayette if I was there. It's better to do
so today, instead of sitting in traffic for 10 hours tomorrow.

But I'm pretty chicken after sitting through Hurricane Lily a
few years ago. That time I screwed up and traveled back to
Lafayette from New Mexico where I was working. My wife
and some neighbors waited for me to arrive before evacuating,
and by the time I arrived it was midnight, and I was exhausted.
I had had to drive from Hobbs, New Mexico to Midland, run to the
terminal and board a plane with two minutes to spare, fly to
Houston then drive to Lafayette.

Driving east on I-10 when all of southeast texas and southwest
louisiana are evacuating is a strange sensation, as a jam-packed
highway streams westward, while we were the only car headed
eastbound.

I arrived home at midnight and the hurricane hit at 6 am, luckily
Governor Fostor had prayed it into a weaker storm and we lived,
just with no power for a couple of weeks. (Governor Blanco
probably sounded like a nut on the news conference when she
said prayer was one thing that has worked in the past)

Friday, August 26, 2005

Cold Fury all over again

This week four years ago my wife and I just got
back from a trip to Washington and New York.
When we went to the world trade center, it was
rainy so we couldn't go on the roof, I thought,
oh well we'll see that next time we come to New
York.

Or maybe we won't.

I'm watching Inside 9-11 on National Geographic
and I'm furious all over again. I can almost
understand the policy of not showing these scenes
over and over again. We'd be demanding real war,
war to the knife.

"The following segment contains footage of people
jumping from the twin towere, viewer discretion is
advised."

(The coverage on american television never did show
people jumping to their deaths, I only saw it on
Telemundo in spanish, where they can show things with
a third person detachment as things happen to the
Norte Americanos.)

I thought I'd try and live blog this show, but without
my DVR I can't keep track of the heros who left safety
to return to rescue more people, or firefighters going
upstairs when all others are going downstairs.

"As I tripped on a step I looked into the eyes of a fireman
going up the stairs on the same step as me.
He knew where he was going and he didn't miss a goddamn
step"

Website with links to original interviews:
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/channel/inside911/

This show is a good reason to always try your best.
The people who make stupid decisions on the radio sound
truly stupid when the recording is played back on a
show like this: "Do we want to scramble fighters...
duh...God, I really don't know"...

Meanwhile, some heros have climbed 78 floors and are
fighting the fire in the south tower amonst the dying
and the dead.

"Lets Roll"

Dark thoughts

Peggy Noonan has a column in the opinion journal that says we
shouldn't be so quick to shut down so many military bases:


The federal government is doing something right now that is exactly the opposite of what it should be doing. It is forgetting to think dark. It is forgetting to imagine the unimaginable.

Governments deal in data. People in government see a collection of data as something to be used, manipulated or ignored, but whatever they do with it, it's real. It's numbers on a page. You can point to them.

To think dark, on the other hand, takes imagination--and something more.
.......

But they're wrong. What they ought to do, and what the commission reviewing the Pentagon's plan ought to do, is sit down and think dark.

In the rough future our country faces, bad things will happen. We all know this. It's hard to imagine some of those things on a beautiful day with the sun shining and the markets full, but let's imagine anyway.

Among the things we may face over the next decade, as we all know, is another terrorist attack on American soil. But let's imagine the next one has many targets, is brilliantly planned and coordinated. Imagine that there are already 100 serious terror cells in the U.S., two per state. The members of each cell have been coming over, many but not all crossing our borders, for five years. They're working jobs, living lives, quietly planning.


I agree strongly with Peggy Noonan's dark thoughts, we shouldn't be closing
bases just to save a little money, when in the next few years we don't know
what we'll be needing.

My dark thoughts are eerily close to hers...if I were a terrorist bastard
I wouldn't waste my punches blowing up embassies or trains in the US,
those type of attacks are for the local Franchisees, McQueda to handle,
I'd slowly gather resources and try and win the war in one blow.

Remember, not only do these people think that destroying the US
and creating a worldwide caliphate is possible, but that it is ordained
by God. These might be terrorist assholes, but they are also smart
serious people who are willing to die for their mistaken beliefs.

They are thinking what are to us very dark thoughts: How do we destroy
the United States so that the remaining people would have no option but to
convert to Islam or die. Which might sound silly until you think dark thoughts.

10 nukes destroy 10 major US cities, an Ultimatum is received: All adult
males must convert or ten more nukes will go off. What happens will depend
on who is in control at the time, do we nuke the world, or convert, or what?
Either way, centralizing the US military too much via base closures might not
be the best idea at this time.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Barbados blogging


Here's the view from
my hotel during a brief
downpour yesterday.

It rains every day here
someplace on the island,
it rains up at the office
every day at 2:30 pm,
you can almost set your
watch by this.

Hopefully this will be the
only type of rain I'll see on
this island, if there is a hurricane
the only place to run here is to the room on the next floor up.

The hotel I'm staying at isn't exactly a deluxe resort, there's no
beach in front of it, I've got to creep on to the beach of the resort
next door where they all get free drinks and fresh fruit delivered
by waiters. (other guys offshore are saying "cry me a river, bitch")

The waves actually crash on a wall just beyond those palm trees,
and with the stronger wind blowing this week a frequent crash,
crash, crash can be heard all the time. Kind of nice, but I'd rather go
home.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Kicking the box

I'm watching Schindler's List on TNT right now. I've seen
this movie before and I know that it ends with Raph Fiennes'
character being hung, and the people doing the hanging kicking
the box underneath him to pieces,

The horror of the story makes be want to go back in time to help
kick the box out from under that fucker. (Amon Goethe)

They did just announce during a commercial break that Steven
Spielberg didn't take a salary for making this movie, that it would
be "blood money". Good for him.

Heart-warming story

here's a story my brother sent that might bring a tear to your
eye:

>>>> Here's a truly heartwarming story about the bond formed between a
>>>> little 5 year old girl and some construction workers that makes you
>>>> believe that we CAN make a difference when we give a child the gift of
>>>> our time...
>>>>
>>>> A young family moved into a house, next door to a vacant lot. One day
>>>> a construction crew turned up to start building a house on the empty
>>>> lot.
>>>>
>>>> The young family's 5-year-old daughter naturally took an interest in
>>>> all the activity going on next door and spent much of each day
>>>> observing the workers.
>>>>
>>>> Eventually the construction crew, all of them gems-in-the-rough, more
>>>> or less adopted her as a kind of project mascot. They chatted with her
>>>> let her sit with them while they had coffee and lunch breaks, and gave
>>>> her little jobs to do here and there to make her feel important.
>>>>
>>>> At the end of the first week they even presented her with a pay
>>>> envelope containing a couple of dollars. The little girl took this
>>>> home to her mother who said all the appropriate words of admiration
>>>> and suggested that they take the two dollar "pay" she had received to
>>>> the bank the next day to start a savings account.
>>>>
>>>> When they got to the bank, the teller was equally impressed and asked
>>>> the little girl how she had come by her very own pay check at such a
>>>> young age.
>>>>
>>>> The little girl proudly replied, "I worked last week with the crew
>>>> building the house next door to us."
>>>>
>>>> My goodness gracious," said the teller, "and will you be working
>>>> on the house again this week, too?"
>>>>
>>>> The little girl replied, "I will if those a--holes at Home Depot ever
>>>> deliver the f----ing sheet rock..."
>>>>
>>>> Kind of brings a tear to the eye....

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Still at work in paradise

Well, I just spent the past 5 days working 2o hours a day on
a rig in the middle of an island paradise. Now I've got a free
day to go and sample the local rum, or maybe I should just
sleep.

I've got to say that the locals are probably the nicest people
I've ever worked for in the oilfield. Problems that would have
a Texan company man jumping up and down with anger just
make the locals shrug and ask for a better effort.

The locals are known as "Bajan", not barbadans. They say y'all
like a US southerner, and call loved ones "boo" like people from
the south too. When a Bajan walks into a room and it is night time,
he'll say 'good night' as he walks in, like in spanish people say
buenas noches, but it sounds jarring to my ears, like walking into
a room and saying 'goodbye'.

Anyway, nice place, nice people but I'd rather be here on vacation.
Now, off to drink a cuba libre or maybe a local Banks Beer.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Still chillin'/workin' in Barbados


Here's the view at the end of the
St. Lawrence gap here in Barbados.
I'm still enjoying the Bajan cooking
(macaroni pie), and I'm working
pretty hard, but it's still better than
being offshore.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Driving on the left side

I've never driven on the left side of the road before, in
England I've taken taxis, buses and subways, but I declined
to drive a car when it was offered because riding on the left
side of the road was scary enough. Here in Barbados, I really
have no choice, if I'm going to make it to work I have to drive,
and I did so for the first time on Monday. Scared shitless at
first, narrow roads with high cane on both sides. When cars
approach in the other direction, it is difficult to judge; should
I go into the cane or keep going. The wap wap wap of the cane
hitting the passenger mirror told me I'm too close to the edge.

Pedestrians are everywhere, and the dark skin/dark clothes
of the locals fade to invisibility when the sun goes down. My
wife was shouting "humano!" when my headlights would light
upon someone, and we'd swerve around them. I was glad
we made it make to the hotel without dying or killing anyone.

Oh well, I should be used to this before I leave here...

Monday, August 08, 2005

Live from Barbados

I'll bet most of my readers (Hi Bob!) didn't even know
that they drill oil wells in Barbados, but apparently they
do, 'cause I'm down here at work blogging about 150' away
from the beach at the Bean n Bagle internet cafe.

Of course once I'm at work on the rig I could just as well
be in west texas on an oil rig, thus proving that wherever
you go, there you are. Of course the clients here are probably
the nicest in the world, and it's unusual to be in such a nice
place at work. Typically I'm in someplace like Oklahome
in december, having to take a dump in a portalet when its 25
degrees outside....shivering like a dog passing a peach pit
while passing a peach pit.

Anyway, pictures soon, beautiful, sunset, water, Banks
beer...yada yada.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Fred on AnarchoTyranny

Jerry Pournelle points to a Fred on Everything column
that describes the descent of the US into anarchotyranny.
Where easily enforceable rules are enforced (searching
granny at the airport because she might be a terrorist),
but real killers are set free or not pursued because of fear
and political correctness. Here's Fred:


“Yahoo News, Fri Apr 29: “CLOVIS, N.M. - A call about a possible weapon at a middle school prompted police to put armed officers on rooftops, close nearby streets and lock down the school. All over a giant burrito. Someone called authorities Thursday after seeing a boy carrying something long and wrapped into Marshall Junior High.”

Yeah. The kid, one Michael Morrissey, had made a thirty-inch burrito for some sort of assigned project, presumably of preternatural stupidity and unrelated to the purposes of school. Anyway, jalapeños, tomatoes, things like that. Scary things.

Armed officers on rooftops? Snipers? I imagine the chief talking by radio to a swatted-out rifleman.

Chief: “You see him, sergeant?”

Sniper: “Yessir. He’s got the weapon under his arm. It’s wrapped in newspaper. I got a clear headshot. Do I have a green light?”

Chief: “No, not yet. If he does anything threatening….”

Sniper: “Hold on! Hold on! He’s unwrapping the weapon.”

Chief: “Green light! Take him out!”

Sniper. “Roger that. Wait. He’s eating it….”

If I were a cop, and had to take part in something so clownish, I wouldn’t admit it. Instead I’d tell my wife I’d spent the afternoon in a brothel.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Joke

Since I'm bored and offshore, I've been reading the jokes on orsm.net,
(not work safe) my favorite one is:

This JellyBean walks into a bar and gets talking to a
Smartie. After a few beers the Smartie says "Ere, do
you fancy going to that new club in town?" JellyBean
says "No mate, I'm a soft centre, I always end up getting
my head kicked in." So Smartie says "Don't worry about
it, I'm a bit of a hard case, I'll look after you." So JellyBean
says "Fair enough, as long as you'll look after me." and off
they went. After a few more beers in the club, three
Vapour Drops walk in. As soon as he sees them, Smartie
hides under a table, the Vapour Drops take one look at
JellyBean and start kicking him, punching him and generally
having a laugh. After a while they get bored and walked out.
Jelly Bean pulls his battered Jelly Bean body over to the table
and wipes his Jelly Bean blood up and turns to Smartie and says
"I thought you were going to look after me?" "I was!" says
Smartie, "But those Vapour Drops are fucking menthol !!!"